• Zamboanga siege victims to relocate next week

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    FAMILIES affected by the Moro National Liberation Front rebels siege in Zamboanga City last year will start moving to their permanent homes in Martha Drive Subdivision next week.

    President Benigno Aquino 3rd made the announcement during his fifth State of the Nation Addres (SONA) at Batasan Pambansa on Monday.

    Aquino noted government designed the houses in accordance with its housing beneficiaries culture and religion.

    He said the housing project is aligned with government’s Zamboanga City Roadmap to Recovery and Reconstruction.

    “By June next year, we target completing 7,176 houses in different areas,” he added.

    Aside from building the houses, Aquino said government is extending financial assistance to some 1,661 affected families which decided to repair respective damaged houses.

    “Were already giving P30,000 in home materials assistance,” he said.

    MNLF rebels entered ZamÐboanga City on September 9, clashed with government troops and hostaged several people there.

    “They used as human shields our countrymen who were living in peace there and even burned down their houses,” Aquino recalled.

    He lauded government troops for defending the city and rescuing MNLFÕs victims amidst the urban combat that erupted there.

    To address destruction from the siege, Malaca–ang tasked Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio Singson with rehabilitating Zamboanga CityÕs damaged infrastructure.

    “Foremost among the needs was providing housing for our countrymen whose houses were burned down,” Aquino said.

    He said addressing problems on securing land was one of the difficulties government encountered in its bid to provide permanent housing for families affected by the siege.

    Aquino said P3.5 billion was allocated for rehabilitating the damaged infrastructure, building the beneficiariesÕ houses and other support to Zamboanga City. A total of P2.57 was already released to DPWH and National Housing Authority. PNA

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